There’s nothing like fall in Door County. The busy summer ends, bringing in a quieter, calmer atmosphere that lets you and your group truly enjoy what the peninsula has to offer. The fall leaves paint Door County’s country roads and shoreline with otherworldly pops of red, orange and yellow. Perhaps the best part of fall is the countless activities to explore, especially for families traveling to the peninsula to spend time together.
Whether you’re looking forward to hearing crunchy leaves under your footsteps while strolling through an apple orchard or making room for a bit of Halloween spookiness in your Door County stay, here are a few ways for you and your family to make the most of your autumn visit.
Wander in Wide-Open Spaces
Door County is home to not one, but two immersive farm experiences where you, the kids and anyone else along for the ride can learn about the peninsula’s agricultural history and ecological beauty. And the best part? You can pet all the farm animals! Round up your group and head to The Farm in Sturgeon Bay, where the grounds are often full of newborn and just-hatched critters including goat kids, piglets, foals, calves, lambs, chicks and kittens.
Located further up the peninsula, Egg Harbor’s Plum Loco Animal Farm is a farm-like sanctuary unlike any other. Over 60 animal species reside at Plum Loco, including ponies, miniature donkeys, horses and chickens—and every animal has a name and story.
Be sure to check out their hands-on Play-Farm Village, designed especially for younger visitors, as well as pumpkin painting activities. On your way from The Farm to Plum Loco, catch a bite to eat at The Rusty Tractor Breakfast Barn—their rotating selection of stuffed French toast is worth the stop!
Fall Fests, Door County-Style
The Door County peninsula is known for its robust festival schedule—and the fall season is no exception. Head to Egg Harbor for their annual Pumpkin Patch Festival and spend the day enjoying apple everything, carnival rides, live music and plenty of arts and crafts vendors.
The following weekend, Sister Bay’s Fall Festival promises more classic autumn fun, along with the time-honored Ping Pong Ball Drop. During this activity, the crowd gets a chance to scoop up as many balls as possible and win prizes from local businesses. Additionally, kids between the ages of 7-13 can build and race gravity-powered cars in the annual Derby Race.
Two Halloween-themed festivals round out the peninsula’s fall schedule. Check out Fish Creek’s annual Jack O’ Lantern Days, where town-wide trick-or-treating, an all-ages costume parade and contest and an eek-worthy Haunted Trail (a hair-raising 1/8-mile walk through the trails and bridges of Fish Creek Park at dusk) will keep you and your family in the spooky spirit. Held the same weekend, Sturgeon Bay’s Thrills and Chills Festival includes community-wide pumpkin carving, a haunted house and one of the festival’s most popular events, the Spooktacular Scavenger Hunt.
Enjoy Apple Everything
Cherries are often touted as Door County’s most popular export but make no mistake—it’s also one of Wisconsin’s apple capitals, too. Wander through the vast orchards of Fish Creek’s Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery, where a wide variety of apples are grown including Macintosh, Honeycrisp, Cortland and Jonagold. After spending a day in the orchards, step into their old barn shop for more apple goodies to take home. Or, for a pick-your-own adventure, head to Sturgeon Bay to explore the 150 acres at Choice Orchards, a spot beloved by the peninsula’s locals.
In Egg Harbor, visit Wood Orchard Market, where they’ve got bags of apples in dozens of varieties. The market is the official grower of the Sweet Tango apple, which is a new apple with a uniquely sweet and tart taste. A word of advice: be sure to pick up a half-dozen (or two) of Wood Orchard’s homemade apple cider donuts for a delicious treat perfect for sharing.
Explore more fun October activities throughout Wisconsin for the best spooky season ever.